DINING: Airport's Patachou and Tchopstick outlets provide excellent fare

December 8, 2008

Last week, as part of our month-long look at dining options at Indianapolis International Airport, we limited ourselves to Civic Plaza, the open-to-the-non-ticketed public hub of the new terminal. Well, one column wasn't enough to cover the food choices there, so I went back, solo, for a second visit.

This time, I started at Cafe Patachou (241-6224), where a greeter was on hand to explain the popular Indy eatery's offerings to uninitiated travelers, many of whom seemed confused by the perhaps too-extensive menu.

I dined at lunch time, but Patachou is open from 4:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., meaning that you can satisfy your breakfast cravings just about anytime with a grab-and-go muffin ($2.75), a sit-down Croissant French Toast ($8.25) or a steaming bowl of comforting Oatmeal ($5.95), complete with brown sugar and a choice of whole or 2% milk (Fruit can be added, taking it up to $7.75). All held up well to the high standards set by its sister restaurants, maintaining the quality that has made it the go-to place for brunchers in Broad Ripple, downtown, and beyond.

Another Broad Ripple staple, Naked Tchopstix (241-6444), also fares well in its airport incarnation. Because so much of the food purchased from these vendors will be taken onto flights, I decided to subject Tchopstix to the waiting test, putting off digging into a trio of sushi rolls until a half hour after purchase.

Happily, the Spicy Salmon Roll ($5.95) and particularly the Maui Roll ($9.99) held up very well. The latter, from the Specialty Roll part of the menu, featured a delicious combo of shrimp tempura, cream cheese, asparagus, mango and avocado. From the cheaper end of the menu, the California Roll ($5.49) was unexciting and could have used a splash of sauce — but I had forgotten to throw any into the bag when I paid.

My only complaint: The sushi-makers set my ordering slip down directly on top of his fresh ingredients while making our rolls. Bad form. But good food.

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